Love and Rockets' rise from the ashes

June 13, 1996

At first glance, the cover of the new Love and Rockets album, "Sweet F.A.," seems to offer mute testimony to what the band lost last year in the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles house it was recording in. What seems to be a rather long piece of charcoal turns out, upon flipping the CD over, to be the well-roasted neck of an extremely overcooked guitar.

But if you think that picture represents what the band lost, you're wrong. Because as bassist David J explains, that charred guitar isn't what the band lost -- it's all the band had left after the fire.

"That guitar that's on the cover is the only thing that resembled an instrument after the fire," he says, over the phone from a tour stop in Orlando, Fla. "We lost all our guitars. Our spare guitars. Our drum kit. A drum kit borrowed from Steve Perkins that he had in Jane's Addiction that was like his prize possession. The demo tapes for the album. All the amps. Clothes . . ."

In all, J and his bandmates, guitarist Daniel Ash and drummer Kevin Haskins, lost virtually every bit of gear they'd amassed since they started their musical career as three-quarters of Bauhaus. As bad breaks go, this was about the worst thing short of death that could happen to a band.

Yet it not only all worked out in the end; it actually left the band slightly ahead of where it was.

For J, the loss of his prized Fender Precision bass was softened by the fact that he found a replacement almost immediately. "I just walked into the first shop I came to, and there's a fretless bass, a Precision bass, on the wall," he says. "I just looked at it and knew that it was the bass even before I picked it up. I picked it up and played it, and it just played like a dream. It's better, actually, than the one I had. It was just an instant thing, and I'm very pleased to have found it."

Ash was given new guitars by the Fernandez Guitar Co., and Perkins helped Haskins get a new drum kit "at a good price." But the instrument bargains were only the beginning.

"We had to go back and recall what we recorded, and in a way, it made it better," says J of the songs the band had recorded. "Trying to rehash it, we discovered better structures for those pieces, and I think they came out better in the end. And also,

generally speaking, it made us really pull together and made us truly tenacious.

"It was bonding, truly. It made us really work together as a band again. Because on the previous album, it was just a layering process. We just took it in turns to add our parts. But this time, we were all together playing as a band for the first time in years, and that resulted in the music."

It may eventually result in even more, for as J explains, the fun Love and Rockets had coming together may yet carry over into an actual Bauhaus reunion.

"For the first time since the demise of Bauhaus, I think the time feels right for Bauhaus to come back," he says. "There's just something in the air. I think it's something to do with the fin de siecle atmosphere. It's very charged. There's a lot of darkness, but there's a lot of light, as well. And to me, Bauhaus was always a clash between the light and the darkness, going toward the light through the deepest dark.

"It feels very volatile at the moment, and I can imagine Bauhaus being very powerful in the context of these times. So who knows?"

Love and Rockets

When: Thursday, June 13, 9 p.m.

Where: Hammerjacks

Tickets: $15

Call: (410) 659-7625 for information, (410) 481-7328 for tickets

Sundial: To hear excerpts from Love and Rockets' new release, "Sweet F.A.," call Sundial at (410) 783-1800 and enter the code 6209. For other local Sundial numbers, see the directory on Page 2A.

Pub Date: 6/13/96

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